Finnish police said Tuesday they believed an anchor of a Chinese ship caused the gas pipeline damage.

On Friday, they said their focus was on the vessel Newnew Polar Bear flying the flag of Hong Kong.

Finnish police said in the distance of a few metres from the gas pipeline damage point, there was an anchor which is believed to have caused the wide dragging trail and the damage itself, and are investigating if it was an accident.

Particular attention will be paid to investigating if there has been any premeditation or negligence involved in the sequence of events.

Early yesterday morning the anchor was lifted up. There are traces in it which indicate that it has been in contact with the gas pipeline, the general head of investigation, detective superintendent Risto Lohi said.

From the finding point of the anchor onward, a narrow dragging trace is to be seen and it matches size-wise with the part connecting the anchor to the chain.

At the press conference Risto Lohi stated that Newnew Polar Bear was contacted several times, but they were not willing to cooperate, as he said.

“Besides we could not visually confirm that both front anchors of the vessel were in their place, which helped in focusing the suspicions on this particular ship,” he added. 

The National Bureau of Investigation, a branch of the Finnish police, highlighted the fact that the police had no competence to take any coercive measures against the vessel, since it sailed in the exclusive economic zone of Finland, which is out of the police competence in this respect.

“We were constantly on alert to act, if the vessel had entered the Finnish territorial waters. For reaching the vessel, international cooperation has been carried out — at present with the Chinese authorities in order to continue the investigations into the vessel as well,” detective superintendent Risto Lohi pointed out.

Last week, Finnish officials confirmed that the movements of the vessel Newnew Polar Bear “coincide with the time and place of the gas pipeline damage.”

The National Bureau of Investigation will cooperate with Chinese authorities in order to establish the role of the said vessel. The Finnish Police also have a liaison officer in China who can handle the matter on the site.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a press briefing on Monday that “To my knowledge, the Chinese vessel was sailing through relevant waters normally when the incident occurred. Due to the rather bad conditions at sea, it didn’t detect anything abnormal.”

“China always holds that the international community needs to strengthen cooperation to jointly safeguard the safety and security of transboundary infrastructure.

“China and Finland have started communication over this incident. We hope relevant authorities will find out what happened soon and make sure that the investigation is conducted in an objective, just and professional manner,” she added.